John Updike - American Writers 79: University of Minnesota by Charles Thomas Samuels

By Charles Thomas Samuels

John Updike - American Writers seventy nine was once first released in 1969. Minnesota Archive variants makes use of electronic know-how to make long-unavailable books once more available, and are released unaltered from the unique college of Minnesota Press editions.

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Meeting a gentle, intelligent poetess in Bulgaria during the final days of his tour, Bech experiences perfect love, while Updike finds the perfect words to express it. " Putting this story beside "The Persistence of Desire," one has Updike's basic notion about love: either it enshrines a lost past or projects an unattainable future; in the present, it withers. So does faith. That is the theme of Updike's first novel, his only one concerned with religion entirely outside the context of love. Though set in the future, The Poorhouse Fair is only an 31 CHARLES THOMAS SAMUELS exaggerated version of the present.

When they first go to bed, Rabbit strips her makeup; as their affair progresses, he melts her protective layer of cyni38 John Updike cism. Amidst the sordidness of Ruth's condition and Rabbit's selfishness Updike creates a real tenderness which is all the more notable for its absence in most of the author's pictures of erotic love. This tenderness comes from Rabbit's self-assertion. Living in honest contact with his own desires, he has them to give to others. Moreover, they enable him to work his will.

You say role. I say you don't know what your role is or you'd be home locked in prayer. There is your role: to make yourself an exemplar of faith. There is where comfort comes from: faith, not what little finagling a body can do here and there, stirring the bucket. In running back and forth 40 John Updike you run from the duty given you by God, to make your faith powerful, so when the call comes you can go out and tell them, "Yes, he is dead, but you will see him again in Heaven. "'" Eccles is disgusted by this rigid expression of piety, but we know how firmly Updike stands behind it not only from Hook's central utterance in The Poorhouse Fair (" 'There is no goodness, without belief.

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